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How Will Your DVD Stand Out This Holiday Season?

Three tips for improving customer satisfaction By Michael Pace
Back in 1998 when Hollywood-at-large was asking me to help figure out how the new standards for Digital Versatile Disc translated into content for home viewers, I had an epiphany: I realized that DVDs bring together everything I love in the realm of digital media....

Today, the number of titles entering the market is soaring in anticipation of a holiday season that's looking to be merrier than ever for sales of DVD players and discs. To all those involved in the decision-making process for titles set to appear on DVD in the weeks and months ahead, we extend a hearty message of congratulations and support.

There are, however, a few reminders we'd like to bring to your attention as your newest DVD title begins to move toward production.

Number One: Ready?

In the planning phase of producing your DVD, we encourage you to be especially creative in deciding how to present your content and what features your disc will contain. Inside those 20 million households currently estimated to have DVD players, there are some really bright people who will spend hours interacting with your content, if you make it available, and they'll honor the extra time, budget and craftsmanship you invest into your titles the next time they go to purchase or rent a new DVD.

Back in those early days of DVD, every single title we handled involved new R&D. We're lucky to continue to receive challenging assignments every day that task us with creating something new, but opportunities for creating some spectacular titles are being missed.

Number Two: Aim....

Last year's $4 billion marketplace for DVD sales and rentals, which most estimates see doubling this year, represents a huge target for entertainment companies. With the overall economy quaking the way it is, a low-cost approach to getting to market will more than likely prevail.

But that doesn't mean it should.

Thankfully, even today, there are companies who continue to relish the opportunity to provide millions of viewers with hallmark entertainment experiences. With Surroundsound being enjoyed by the masses in their own home theaters, the opportunity to package feature entertainment that delivers the experiences they crave should not be taken lightly.

When you conceive your DVD project, remember that there are those of us who think in design and authoring syntax ... who command brilliant performances from cutting-edge artists in all media to enhance your content and elevate it to its absolute highest potential.

Number Three: Fire!

New feature film releases, classic films, long-form music videos and collections all make wonderful fare for the DVD-enabled home theater. Since DVD penetration is soaring around the globe, a mass audience for a new DVD is real, it's growing, and it's hungry.

It may be that an individual artist working with Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro on their Mac offers the perfect solution for handling the process of putting your DVD title together along with all the bonus materials necessary to create lifelong fans. Alternately, you may be better served by one of the elite design and authoring houses that have helped produce the award-winners of the past.

The point is, the specifications for DVD provide for an endless array of variations that allow for content to be presented to people in ways they?ve never yet seen. To protect your own interests as a content producer vying for what's bound to be an increasingly smaller share of your audience's time, please take every opportunity to make your titles the coolest thing home viewers have ever laid their eyes on.

If you accomplish that, you can count on having a happy new year for many years to come.

Michael A. Pace is CEO, founder and senior creative director at EMA Multimedia Inc. Since founding EMA Multimedia in 1992, UCLA graduate Michael Pace and his team have helped clients earn a Divi Award nomination for Best Educational DVD, a Sony DVD PRO Award for Best Packaging and Best Educational DVD, a DVD People's Choice Award for Best Interface Design and Most Entertaining DVD, a Divi Award for Best DVD Movie and a VSDA Award Winner for Best DVD. Visit EMA at http://www.emamultimedia.com.

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